Monday, February 8, 2010

Reality-based Romance

This morning's Publisher's Lunch email featured a blurb on HCI's newest imprint, Vows, in which romance authors like Judith Arnold and Julie Leto will write "reality-based romance," producing novels "based on personal interviews with real couples whose love stories read like the best in romantic fiction."

My first thought was a brilliant, Huh? I haven't gotten a lot further than that with it. I can't decide if this imprint is a good thing or not. Do I want to read about real-life romances? How much is going to be fictionalized to make the story fit an appealing arc for the reader? Does it make it better if I know that the story I'm reading is in some way real? Does it make it worse? Does this open the door to all those people who have a "really great idea for a story" but just need someone else to write it? How is HCI verifying the truth of people's stories?

But the basic question is this: Would I read a Vows novel?

Possibly no: This imprint is touted as the novel version of reality TV. I don't watch a lot of reality TV, which makes me think I wouldn't like to read reality TV. The reality TV I watch is limited to Wipeout and the occasional American Idol, neither of which would translate well to print.

Possibly yes: I like hearing friend's "how we met" stories. I like learning about how two people grew to form a partnership. I like the idea of reading memoirs (I've only read two in my life, but I enjoyed them).

However, if you've got a great romantic story of love, HCI is running a contest and you could make a little cash off it.

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